Research Watch: First-In-Human Safety Study for Hearing Restoration

 Image credit: University of Virginia Health System

Image credit: University of Virginia Health System

The loss of inner ear hair cells is the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Once damaged (due to loud noises, trauma, aging and other factors), these hair cells cannot grow back, which causes permanent hearing loss. U.S.-based biotech company Frequency Therapeutics is trying to change that. Last month, the company successfully completed the first-in-human study of FX-322, a Progenitor Cell Activation (PCA™) regenerative medicine aimed at creating new inner ear hair cells in the cochlea.

FX-322 previously worked at restoring hearing in animals. This first-in-human study was to prove the safety and tolerability of it. Nine adults with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss who were scheduled to receive a cochlear implant in the 24 hours following receiving FX-322 were enrolled in the study. The success of this trial means that future trials may take place in patients with moderate hearing loss who are not candidates for the cochlear implant and whose hearing can be studied over time. 

You can read more about this study here. We're unsure of the timeframe - it could be years - but we're encouraged for our patients about the research taking place.